How Turkey was able to differentiate itself


Having left the most difficult years of the global crisis behind us, it is now universally recognised that Turkey is one of the countries which has managed to put its economy back on the path to strong growth in a short period of time. 

The outstanding performance of the Turkish economy has been demonstrated by 9.2% and 8.5% growth rates recorded in 2010 and 2011, ranking Turkey as one of the fastest growing economies globally. Unlike most other countries, Turkey has been able to increase employment by 3.7 million since the first quarter of 2009. What factors contributed to Turkey’s resilience against the impacts of the global crisis? Approaching this question only from a “time of the crisis” angle would lead to an incorrect diagnosis of the case. What Turkey has achieved today reflects the outcome of policies it has been implementing with determination over the last decade, with the aim of achieving a stable, dynamic and well-functioning market economy.

Looking back, we see that two areas of reform have been especially instrumental for Turkey in facing the global crisis: the existence of disciplined fiscal and monetary policies, along with a strengthened banking sector.

Fiscal discipline was at the heart of our programme after we experienced the bitter consequences of derailed public finances and high and chronic inflation during the 1990s. Long-lasting fiscal discipline, in parallel with the existence of stability-oriented monetary policies, have tremendously improved the predictability of our economic policies, thus boosting confidence in the economy. This has had two important effects: Confidence in our currency has risen and the borrowing costs for both the public sector and the private sector have decreased significantly.

Fiscal discipline, a decline in borrowing costs and strong growth led to a sharp reduction in EU-defined government debt stock as a share of GDP, from 74% in 2002 to 40% in 2008. The fiscal space created during this period increased our room for manoeuvre later on in the crisis.

Improved banking sector supervision and our regulatory framework, which were in place before the crisis, led to a strong banking sector with high capital adequacy and high profitability, and enabled the sector quickly to return to regular lending activities during the crisis.

Policies implemented at the same time also enabled a quick rebound of the economy by limiting any loss of confidence both in domestic and international markets. Supportive policies were utilised in a timely, well-targeted and measured manner at the peak of the crisis. The main objectives of these policies were to prevent any sort of liquidity shortages in the markets, increase investor and consumer confidence, minimise employment losses, improve the employability of those out of work, support job seeking activities and ease access to unemployment insurance.

Aware of the importance of preserving this positive policy outlook, we announced a Medium-Term Programme in September 2009 in which fiscal discipline and price stability were assured. The announcement of longer-term policy perspectives boosted both investor and consumer confidence, which led to a rise in domestic demand and employment. Creating a virtuous circle between growth and employment generation was instrumental in Turkey’s strong rebound after the global crisis.

Turkey has succeeded in outperforming many countries in various areas during the global crisis, and our main goal now is to continue by strengthening our position. The stability we have maintained over the last decade has allowed us to introduce long-term targets and plans of action. In order to secure even greater prosperity, we will continue with reforms to enhance the competitiveness and flexibility of the economy.


©OECD Observer No 290-291, Q1-Q2 2012

Economic data


Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the OECD by signing up for our e-newsletter :

Twitter feed

Suscribe now

<b>Subscribe now!</b>

To receive your exclusive print editions delivered to you directly

Online edition
Previous editions

Don't miss

  • Africa's cities at the forefront of progress: Africa is urbanising at a historically rapid pace coupled with an unprecedented demographic boom. By 2050, about 56% of Africans are expected to live in cities. This poses major policy challenges, but make no mistake: Africa’s cities and towns are engines of progress that, if harnessed correctly, can fuel the entire continent’s sustainable development.
  • “Nizip” refugee camp visit
    July 2016: OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría visits the “Nizip” refugee camp, situated between Gaziantep and the Turkish-Syrian border, accompanied by Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek. The camp accommodates a small number of the 2.75 million Syrians currently registered in Turkey, mostly outside the camps. In his tour of the camp, Mr Gurría visits a school, speaks with refugees and gives a short interview.
  • OECD Observer i-Sheet Series: OECD Observer i-Sheets are smart contents pages on major issues and events. Use them to find current or recent articles, video, books and working papers. To browse on paper and read on line, or simply download.
  • Queen Maxima of the Netherlands gives a speech next to Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto (not pictured) during the International Forum of Financial Inclusion at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico June 21, 2016.
  • How sustainable is the ocean as a source of economic development? The Ocean Economy in 2030 examines the risks and uncertainties surrounding the future development of ocean industries, the innovations required in science and technology to support their progress, their potential contribution to green growth and some of the implications for ocean management.
  • OECD Environment Director Simon Upton presented a talk at Imperial College London on 21 April 2016. With the world awash in surplus oil and prices languishing around US$40 per barrel, how can governments step up efforts to transform the world’s energy systems in line with the Paris Agreement?
  • Happy 10th birthday to Twitter. This 2008 OECD Observer interview with Henry Copeland said you’d do well.
  • The OECD Gender Initiative examines existing barriers to gender equality in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. The gender portal monitors the progress made by governments to promote gender equality in both OECD and non-OECD countries and provides good practices based on analytical tools and reliable data.
  • Once migrants reach Europe, countries face integration challenge: OECD's Thomas Liebig speaks to NPR's Audie Cornish.

  • Message from the International Space Station to COP21

  • The carbon clock is ticking: OECD’s Gurría on CNBC

  • If we want to reach zero net emissions by the end of the century, we must align our policies for a low-carbon economy, put a price on carbon everywhere, spend less subsidising fossil fuels and invest more in clean energy. OECD at #COP21 – OECD statement for #COP21
  • They are green and local --It’s a new generation of entrepreneurs in Kenya with big dreams of sustainable energy and the drive to see their innovative technologies throughout Africa.
  • Pole to Paris Project
  • In order to face global warming, Asia needs at least $40 billion per year, derived from both the public and private sector. Read how to bridge the climate financing gap on the Asian Bank of Development's website.
  • How can cities fight climate change?
    Discover projects in Denmark, Canada, Australia, Japan and Mexico.
  • Climate: What's changed, what hasn't, what we can do about it.
    Lecture by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, hosted by the London School of Economics and Aviva Investors in association with ClimateWise, London, UK, 3 July 2015.
  • Is technological progress slowing down? Is it speeding up? At the OECD, we believe the research from our Future of ‪Productivity‬ project helps to resolve this paradox.
  • Is inequality bad for growth? That redistribution boosts economies is not established by the evidence says FT economics editor Chris Giles. Read more on
  • Interested in a career in Paris at the OECD? The OECD is a major international organisation, with a mission to build better policies for better lives. With our hub based in one of the world's global cities and offices across continents, find out more at .

Most Popular Articles


What issue are you most concerned about in 2016?

Euro crisis
International conflict
Global warming

OECD Insights Blog

NOTE: All signed articles in the OECD Observer express the opinions of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of OECD member countries.

All rights reserved. OECD 2016